Fierce and fearless momma, Dr. Geri Satin teaches us a thing or two in & out of the courtroom
Name: Dr. Geri Satin
Do you have any kids, how old? Yes, I have a 3.5 year old daughter (Stevie) and an 8 month old son (Koby).
What type of business do you run? & where did the foundation of your business stem from?
A jury research and trial consulting firm. We are brought in on civil and criminal cases to assist attorneys, in-house counsel, insurers, governmental entities, and companies in the development of persuasive case themes and strategies, juror profiling, and case valuation through the use of mock trials, focus groups, and surveys. We also specialize in witness preparation, shadow juries, and jury selection. We work on cases involving tort, contract, fraud, intellectual property, professional malpractice, banking/securities, and product liability across the country. I realize this sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, so if you have seen the CBS show Bull or the movie Runaway Jury, that is essentially what we do.
The foundation of the business stems from my legal and social science background/training. I am a lawyer and a social scientist. After graduating law school, I worked in the trial practice group of a big law firm for a number of years, which gave me exposure to and experience in high-stakes, complex litigation. Subsequently, I obtained a Ph.D. in legal psychology, conducting research on cognition, perception, and juror decision making. My blended law/psychology training and experience allows me to provide clients with effective trial strategies that are grounded in science and comport with the practical and legal nuances of a case.
What has been your proudest moment since launching your company?
There have been a lot of proud moments along the way in terms of case victories and happy trial teams, but I would have to say my proudest moment to date has been landing a federal contract with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Over the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly all of the SEC’s regional offices across the country, conducting jury research and trial consulting on securities cases set for jury trial.
What is your biggest concern, as a mother, about balancing kids/family, work, and self-care?
My job takes me all over the country. As a mother, my biggest concern is always leaving my family for work trips. My husband is a tax attorney with an equally busy schedule, so there is a lot of juggling in terms of the daily schedule/grind. When I’m not traveling I try to do what I can to be particularly present for my family (e.g., picking my daughter up from school, powering down my computer/phone early to spend quality time with the kiddos before they go to bed, scheduling dinner dates with my husband, etc.) Luckily, for the times when I’m not here, we have a lot of family that helps out as well as a lovely nanny who does a lot of the heavy lifting with the baby – to say it “takes a village” would be an understatement.
As far as self-care, all I can say is . . . (eye roll). Thank goodness for convenient/quick fixes like Glamsquad, Priv, and Blo Bar. Also, I have a Peleton spin bike in my house that is collecting dust – I keep telling myself that “next week” I’m going to start working out again . . . (second eye roll)
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a working mom?
One of the biggest challenges for me is not micro-managing. I’m a bit of a control freak in my professional life. I’m really into schedules and to do lists; I redline my redlines; nothing happens at my company without me “mulling over it” for minute or two – yes, I am that person at work that you loath. When it comes to balancing work and family, it is just impossible to micro-manage everything. Kids get sick. Nannies call in sick. Babies don’t sleep through the night. Dogs bark during naptimes and wait up said sleeping baby. Husbands have to work late during bath and bedtime. Friends and family show up unannounced at your house to see the kids. None of these events are forecastable; they cannot be micro-managed or pre-planned. So, my biggest challenge as a working mom is learning to roll with the punches (which, admittedly, is still a work in progress).
Do you have working mom guilt? If so, how do you deal with it?
100%. One day my daughter came home from school and told me that some of the other kids’ moms cut fruit into cute little shapes (i.e., stars and hearts) as part of their packed lunch each day. The reality is that I will never be that mom. I will never be head of the PTA. I will never be taking my son to Gymboree and Zumbini classes at 11am on a Tuesday. It’s just not realistic. When I first came to this realization I was pretty upset about it, and I worried that my kids would suffer as a result. But, in further reflecting, I think being a working mom is the greatest gift you can give your kids. Everyday they watch you go out there and take on the world – it teaches them responsibility, work ethic, and perseverance. It shows them that women can – and should – do whatever they set their mind to.
Do you believe that you can have it all?
YES (with a caveat). I think there is a difference between “having” it all and “doing” it all. I definitely have it all. A beautiful family, a thriving business, a happy life. But, do I believe that I can “do” it all? Sort of. For me, it’s all about setting expectations. Before I had kids, I channeled all of my energy into my work. After Stevie (my daughter) was born, I channeled all my energy into being a mom. These days, it’s literally impossible to put all of my energy into both family and work all the time. So, for better or worse, I’ve had to lower the bar a bit. If, at the end of the day, I’m a little dissatisfied with myself on both ends, then I’m doing pretty good overall. Uplifting, right?!